Tensions within Just as Long as We’re Together come from two sources: the separation between Stephanie Hirsch’s parents and that between Stephanie and her best friend, Rachel Robinson. The main theme of the novel revolves around the awkwardness of identifying oneself with and within relationships, both marital and sororal.
Though the story is told dominantly from Stephanie’s perspective, she often plays a supporting role within the story’s subplots: the surprise and awkwardness surrounding her parents’ separation; the welcome intrusion of Alison, a Vietnamese adoptee to a famous Hollywood couple who have just moved into the neighborhood and into Stephanie’s group of friends; and the resultant strain upon Stephanie’s friendship with Rachel, a self-professed perfectionist who is the toast of the seventh grade.
As might be expected in the narrative of a young girl entering her teen years, Stephanie experiences a mix of burgeoning traumas. She has discovered boys as sexual objects worthy of her attention, she has discovered her own inadequacies in juxtaposition to the instantly popular Alison and irrepressible overachiever Rachel, and she even must deal with acting as a surrogate parent to her younger brother, Bruce, himself an overachiever yet slightly neurotic concerning global issues such as nuclear devastation.
Such pressures begin to take a physical toll upon Stephanie. She compensates for her inability to...
(The entire section is 529 words.)